Superior knowledge confers no advantage; for, as Kardec informs us, the superior spirits have no power in that direction. We have, therefore, the authority of the spiritists themselves for formulating the proposition that the more completely the spirit of a man is "disengaged from material influence," the less power he possesses to produce physical phenomena. This being true, it follows that the converse of the proposition is true, namely, that the more completely the spirit of a man is united to material elements, the greater is his power to produce such phenomena. The conclusion is irresistible that the spirit of a man in normal union with his own body possesses the power in perfection.
1 Book on Mediums, p. 87.
If, therefore, we can find in abstract reasoning no warrant for the assumption that the phenomena are produced by disembodied spirits, we must look elsewhere for evidence of their extramundane origin. The first inquiry naturally suggesting itself is, What internal evidence is contained in the character of the manifestations which would enable one to form a correct judgment regarding their probable source ? We have already seen that reasoning from their physical character leads us to the conclusion that the physical power displayed must have a physical basis, and that that basis is probably the physical organism of the medium. Now, if its intellectual character leads us in the same direction, the evidence is still stronger in favor of its purely human origin. We presume that no one will dispute the proposition that the communications received through the physical phenomena are governed by the same laws as those received by means of the other methods which have been discussed. Indeed, the fact is almost self-evident. They have the •lame origin, and must be governed by the same laws. The remarks, therefore, which have been made concerning the character of the communications obtained by other than physical means apply with full force to those obtained through physical demonstrations.
The laws of telepathy and suggestion play their subtle role in the one case the same as in the other. If possible, there is less evidence of extramundane origin in the physical manifestations than there is in the intellectual. Indeed, this might be pre-sup-posed, from the gross character of the former, even though the latter had a purely spiritual source. If, therefore, we find no valid evidence of extramundane origin in the higher manifestations, it is a waste of time to seek for evidence of spirit intercourse in the tipping of kitchen tables, the levitation of parlor sofas, or the convulsions of whole sets of chamber furniture.
The foregoing remarks apply to all forms and grades of physical phenomena, of which there are many. Some of them possess the most intense interest, not only on account of the wonderful psycho-physical power displayed, but because of their intellectual phases. Slate-writing, for instance, when performed by a first-class medium, gifted with a high order of telepathic power, accompanied by other necessary intellectual qualifications, is one of the most interesting of all phases of psychic power. An instance which occurred within the writer's own experience will be here related, for the reason that it fully illustrates the essential qualifications and characteristics of a first-class medium, shows both the physical and mental powers with which he is endowed, and clearly defines the limitations which hedge him about, and which point, with unerring exactitude, to the source of the phenomena.
A few years ago, a conversation which the writer had with a celebrated Union general led to an agreement to visit a .prominent slate-writing medium, then sojourning in the city of Washington. Among other things, it was agreed that the general should be the sitter, and that he should be guided entirely by my suggestions relative to the course which he should pursue before and during the stance.
My object, which he fully understood and appreciated, was, first, to convince him of the genuineness of the physical phenomena, - that is, that the slate-writing was performed without corporeal contact of the medium with the pencil, and without the shadow of a possibility of the employment of legerdemain; and, secondly, to demonstrate the utter impossibility of the phenomena being attributable to disembodied spirits.